Talento Henmi Emiri (photo, 29) and Yoshimoto comedian Kimura Yuichi (42) are expected to announce an engagement soon. Spokespeople for the two officially acknowledged their relationship yesterday, but said the stars themselves would not be speaking to the media just yet. Henmi, the daughter of singer Henmi Mari and her first husband, actor Saigo Teruhiko, has been the subject of romantic rumors many times. Her mother went through her second divorce just last November. Kimura has been a solo comedian since his partner was arrested in 1990, but is best known as part of the Downtown entourage. For many years, he has been the “brain” behind Matsumoto Hitoshi, considered one of Japan’s top comic talents.
• Matsudaira Ken (52) and Yuriko (37), his second wife of three months, headed off for their honeymoon in Las Vegas yesterday. Spotted by reporters at Narita Airport, it was their first public appearance together since their marriage on October 11. The “Matsuken Samba” boom seems to have lost its steam, but his marriage to the former actress has put him back in the spotlight. He said the couple have no plans for a wedding ceremony.
• Comedian Ishii Masanori (32) and his former comedian wife Kamemura Kana (26) have divorced. Ishii, one half of the manzai duo Ari to Kirigirsu, revealed the split on a TV variety show on New Year’s Day. Kamemura was formerly a member of the comedy duo Versus. Ishii has recently been a regular on the local Disney Channel.
• NHK’s Kohaku Uta Gassen song spectacular on New Year’s Eve managed to stop the rot in its audience ratings. The numbers didn’t reach the 50% that emcee Mino Monta was aiming for, but at 42.9% was up almost 4 points from last year’s record low and stopped a 4-year slide. But the numbers are still low for what was once a national institution that had almost every household in the country tuning in.